A new story collection and upcoming freebies

Most of my time lately has been spent working on the new collection of stories I wrote with Jay Lake. A few years back, we collaborated on a number of stories together, both science fiction and fantasy. When I started switching from traditional publishing to ebooks, I told Jay I could put together some collections of our fiction. But since I always have more projects than time, I kept putting it off. Then recently I learned that Jay’s battle with cancer has taken a turn for the worse, and I figured I better finally get on it. (As opposed to my writing buddy, Jay, I don’t go into personal stuff a lot on this blog, but for the record, I had a crying fit before I realized I had to shift priorities a bit.)

The first book of our collaborations that I’m doing is science fiction and includes five previously published stories (two of which were reprinted in Year’s Best anthologies), as well as two stories new to this collection. I’m not done with formatting it yet, and I still need to write a blurb (always particularly hard with collections, gah). But here’s the second version of the cover:

Please let me know what you think!

The other big project that I’ve been working on this week is FINALLY PUTTING TOGETHER A PRINT VERSION OF YSEULT! I splurged and bought a license from Book Design Templates. But if you click on the link, don’t believe that marketing line about your book “looking this good in just minutes.” Having some base styles already designed, and by a pro, is definitely a time-saver, but I’ve spent most of the day today importing Yseult into the template, defining styles, looking for import mistakes (e.g. I lost all of my italics and have to find them again in another window in Word), etc. — and I’m still not done. But since that whole procedure is definitely worth a blog post of its own, I won’t bother you with any more detail now.

I also spent a fair amount of time organizing some freebies for the coming week and notifying sites that will still carry announcements. I’m slowly moving my books out of KDP Select. Of the twelve ebooks I have out now, five are still in Select (one by mistake). Of those that are still in, several will be free next week. I did some overlapping in an attempt to get more of my books on my other books “alsobots” — something I’m not having much luck with. I suspect that’s because I don’t write exclusively in one narrowly defined genre. The readers who enjoy Yseult and Shadow of Stone may well have absolutely no interest in Looking Through Lace, and vice versa. So be it. One of the things I love about being an indie author is that I can write whatever I want, without someone else pressuring me to watch out for my BRAND. Ok, so it means I’m going to continue to sell modestly until I get enough out there in ALL the genres I like to write — or a miracle occurs. But the thing is, I really enjoy the freedom. 🙂

Anyway, here are the upcoming freebies:

Dragon Time and Other Stories – April 29-30

Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife – April 30 – May 4

Beyond the Waters of the World – May 3-4

The Future, Imperfect – May 4-5

Enjoy!

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14 thoughts on “A new story collection and upcoming freebies”

  1. Cover art – the usual Widder thumbnail test – The first part of the title looks too crowded. (it looks crowded at real size) It reads like ‘something something from the stars’. It might work better with a different font?… love the sepia tones, but maybe make Jupiter stand out a little more. Person walking along the road is very evocative.

    To anyone thinking about whether or not to take advantage of these freebies, all I can say is go for it. You won’t regret the time it takes to download ’em.

  2. Oh, now then. The cover – love the image, not the fonts so much. I’d definitely look at those, and differentiate between the font/colour of author names and title. I agree that making the planet stand out is also a good idea, although it’s the fonts which need most attention (IMO) 🙂

    Re KDP select. You know my confusion, it just seems I’m going to essentially cut off a few limb to tone up the one remaining. I’m going to try it… not sure when though, yet.

    I bought that template and had loads of hassle with it, but it’s worth the investment and the time spent. The book will look 1000% better for it, and so much better than had I struggled doing it al myself. I’ve not got the the print version out there yet – still awaiting the review process to reveal whether the cover – more than anything – has passed their assessment. I have struggled making the back cover, what with jpegs, and tiffs, pixels and everything else, I’ve done a lot of back and forth messing about, and general time-wasting. But I think it’s okay – we’ll see. 🙂

    Best of luck with these freebies – I’ll share this about and go download them for myself. I may actually get to read them one day! 🙂 X

    1. That’s been the general tone of the comments, also the first attempt — image good, fonts not so much. Sigh. I’ve got a volunteer messing with it right now, so we’ll see what he comes up with.

      Heh, so you had the same experience with the template that I’m having! But yes, the result does look much more professional than my old Lulu print books that I made for family. So I think it will be worth it.

  3. I agree with the comments made about the cover, particularly the font. But I also want to say I appreciate that you are writing in different genres. I’m much more interested in voice and ideas and story than identifying myself as a reader of a particular genre.

    1. More fiddling with Photoshop for me! *g* But I’m glad you’re also one of those readers with eclectic tastes! I read all over the place, with the exception of horror. 🙂

  4. Love the cover image! I am a graphic designer and do all my own formatting & layout, and I really don’t think there’s any shortcut for the kind of thing you’re talking about. It’s paying attention to those little details that makes a book layout professional. Hope it does well!

  5. Let me cast one (small) vote for the font… It evokes “classic science fiction” to me. I feel I’m being drawn back to those days when science fiction was a “new thing”, and there was something exciting about going down to the corner drugstore and picking up a $.25 book off the racks and spending a week’s allowance on it.

    Not that I actually ever did that…. ahem …but I know my father certainly did by the number of those books we owned, with their colored page edges and slightly crackling pages.

    Anyway, I grew up reading them, and the font brings with it a fond nostalgia. It also brings with a bit of a “pulp scifi” expectation that you may not want. But a fun expectation…

    The photo is awesome in concept. The colors feel a bit off. The figure doesn’t look much like a real person as much as cut-out.

    Still looks ten times more professional than a lot of book covers I’ve seen.

    My thoughts go with you, Jay and his family.

    1. Thanks, Eden! Yes, I was trying to get a bit more of a scifi feel across than could be provided exclusively by the cover image. A couple of the stories are classic sf, most are near future, and my daughter and I were so taken with the guy walking down the road that we chose that as the base image — upon which we had to inflict science fiction. *g*

      Thanks for your kind thoughts.

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